The first year clinical placement for undergraduate Medical Radiation Science students: tool or toil?

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Introduction: While academic learning has been widely reported in the literature to provide benefits to clinical learning, little has been reported with regard to the benefits clinical learning extends to a students academic progress. One might question whether a reduction in or abolition of first year clinical placements might negatively impact on the understanding a student gains in theoretical learning which, in turn, might undermine clinical skill development. Methodology: A test/retest study design was employed to assess the academic performance of a cohort of first year medical radiation science students immediately prior to and after their first clinical placement. Results: Matched pairs of test one and test two scores for each student demonstrated a strong positive correlation with a correlation coefficient of 0.70. Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated a mean difference between test one and test two matched pairs (4 score) of 9.1% (95% CI: 4.7% to 13.6%). The paired t test demonstrated statistically significant differences between matched pairs (P=0.0002). Lower student GPA (P=0.02), UAI/TER (P<0.001) and test one scores (P<0.001) were predictive of a positive 0 score while test two scores (P=0.59) and gender (P=0.39) were not shown to be predictive of the 0 score. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that clinical learning provides the context in which the majority of students can better understand theory. Significant value is gained from first year clinical placements of medical radiation science undergraduates at Charles Sturt University to improve academic marks via fostering deeper understanding and reinforcement of theory. This may provide a 'flow on' effect, improving clinical skill development in subsequent clinical placements, further reinforcing understanding. (author abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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